Gosberton Baptist Church is celebrating 350 years at the heart of their community with a series of events which get under way this month.
A thanksgiving service, all-age chess day and quiz night are three of the events planned by Baptists in Gosberton to mark the milestone over the next 12 months.
Remarkably, the church still stands on the same site where pioneering Lincolnshire Baptist leader Thomas Grantham and others paved the way for its opening in 1666.
Current minister, the Revd Steve Weatherly-Barton, said: “In the early days, there was quite a close relationship between Gosberton and Spalding Baptist Churches.
“Our church has a remarkable story, not least because we’re still in the original building and the men who formed the church were living on the edge of the law.
“During the reign of King Charles II, you were obliged by law to worship in the style and manner of the Church of England.
“If an officer of the law walked past your house and heard you praying with a group of people, you could be arrested.
“But after a while, under the reign of King George I, Britain became a much more tolerant nation which allowed Gosberton Baptist Church to make its contribution to the history of the village.”
One of the highlights for Gosberton Baptist Church’s 350th anniversary year is its annual flower and crafts festival over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The festival, with its theme of “1666 and All That”, will run from Saturday, August 27, until Monday, August 29.
Mr Weatherly-Barton said: “We’ve been thinking about our church’s anniversary and talking through ideas for some months, with our original plan being to make the 2016 calendar year a celebration of the founding of our churh.
“But circumstances changed and instead we thought that we would look to start our celebration year in June which is traditionally when Baptist churches celebrate their anniversaries.”
Gosberton Baptist Church shares its anniversary with the 1666 Great Fire of London in which, officially, four people died and 13,200 homes, 44 businesses and 84 churches were destroyed, including St Paul’s Cathedral.
For more details on the history of Gosberton Baptist Church, visit http://www.gosberton.org/churches/baptist-church/baptists/